In Fayetteville, a North Carolina city of about 210,000 people some 90 miles (145 km) from the ocean, authorities told thousands of residents near the Cape Fear River and Little River to get out of their homes by Sunday afternoon because of the flood risk. "We're seeing this happen now and the result is not good", Cooper said.
Florence flattened trees, buckled buildings and crumpled roads.
More than 800,000 homes and businesses have lost power and Mr Cooper said the danger from flooding would linger for days.
A mother and baby were killed when a tree fell on a house, according to a tweet from Wilmington police. Orange County will also receive heavy rain on Tuesday. The governor's office said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords in the rain. "He calmed the waters and he's going to look after us".
A boat lays smashed against a vehicle garage, deposited there by the high winds and storm surge from Hurricane Florence along the Neuse River, Sept. 15, 2018, in New Bern, N.C.
Yet one family riding out the storm on the outskirts of Lumberton said they're not budging.
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Florence was downgraded from a hurricane soon after it made landfall on the U.S. east coast and, while winds have weakened to around 35mph, the danger is now posed by torrential rain and flooding. It blew ashore along a mostly boarded-up, emptied-out stretch of coastline. Forecasters said it was expected to gradually pick up forward speed and complete a big turn toward the Northeast, which is in for as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain.
About 532,338 of those power outages are in North Carolina, and 61,000 are in SC.
The volunteer United Cajun Navy rescue group says it was helping in Leland, where about 200 people have made calls for help, after it made numerous rescues in Wilmington.
Florence's merciless deluge has already killed 18, trapped hundreds and made parts of North and SC impassable - and authorities say the worst flooding is yet to come.
"Catastrophic and historic river flooding will continue for days across portions of the Carolinas", the National Weather Service said.
Overflows also were reported at several hog "lagoons" - used to store waste from pig farms.
By Tuesday, Guy said, "the remnants of Florence will be pushed towards the Northeast where areas from Northern Pennsylvania through central NY towards Boston could pick up some heavy rain".
NCDOT warns residents about Florence flooding interstates, highways
Four looters have already been arrested in Brunswick County, North Carolina as Tropical Storm Florence wreaks havoc on the coast. The figure for SC was 170 000 customers. "I feel like the dumbest human being who ever walked the face of the earth", he said.
Currently, the storm is travelling westwards at 13 kph setting its sights on Charlotte in North Carolina, with winds measuring 61 kph.
- The death toll attributed to Florence stands at 19, including 13 in North Carolina and six in SC. That's enough to fill the Chesapeake Bay or cover the entire state of Texas with almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water, he calculated.
After North Carolina made the decision last week to cancel its game with Central Florida, Fedora said he let the players go on Wednesday.
Video clip recording revealed auto parking lots in the riverfront city of New Bern become shallow ponds of unclean gray water as quite heavy rain dropped. "Don't go back until this storm passes and you get the official all clear", he said.
"The wind was so hard, the waters were so hard ..."
City Manager Mark Stephens said the city had suffered one of the most devastating storms in its 308 year history. She was eventually rescued by a boat crew; 140 more awaited help.
"Honestly, I don't know".
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